Grilled chicken salad
The fresh kale salads, served with grilled proteins like chicken, beef and pork in compostable bowls, are really getting Vetter excited, because of the link with a small local farm. “About three weeks before this thing really broke, I started reaching out to Joyce Farms, a smaller-scale farm that raises chicken, beef and pork,” he says. “It used to be that we were helping out these smaller farms, but now they’re helping us. We’ve had no shortage of meat and it’s the next layer down of ‘where’s my food coming from?’”
Vetter and his team have been “testing the waters” of dim sum as a style of service. “We want to see if we can push students through in a timely manner, but dim sum is one way to keep customization with the different options.” Items for dim sum include pork bao buns, spring rolls, big soup dumplings and vegan versions of each.
Fried chicken on a biscuit
This Southern classic is made with a shortcut: drop biscuits, which eliminate the tedious folding process. Local honey is also part of this surefire menu item.
Hempeh, a cultured hemp protein, “crumbles just like tempeh and is protein dense,” Vetter says.
Pulled pork carnitas
Always a crowd pleaser, carnitas is a menu star when paired with pickled jalapenos.
Fancy nut butter and compote
Vetter is calling this series of sandwiches “bougie PB and Js.” The traditional fancied-up version includes North Carolina peanut butter with bacon jam and pork rinds. Another one is made with pine nut butter and sundried tomato jam, a fun throwback to 1980s haute cuisine.
Korean barbecue bowl
“We know kids love bowls,” Vetter says. “We used to run a lot of different options, but a bowl like this will be on a restaurant-style menu for that day, and it’s customizable if you don’t want kimchi or we have marinated mushrooms instead of beef for a vegan option.”
Being from Virginia, Vetter says he underestimated the love for catfish in North Carolina. These sliders have gotten a thumbs up from students still on campus, a group the dining team has welcomed with requests for feedback.
Chicago beef sandwich
And heading north for inspiration on this item, Chicago beef is topped with giardiniera, that famously spicy condiment from the Windy City.
Low Country boil
Back to the South! A traditional (but socially distanced) Low Country boil was a pop-up that helped break monotony on a nice day outdoors at Elon.
The flavors come out in smoke signals in this bowl: shrimp is coated with blackening seasoning (chili peppers, paprika, oregano) and seared, then perched on a salad with corn salsa. Housemade tortilla strips bring the crunch.